Gene Dean, owner of Fiesta Shows/Dean Enterprises, Seabrook, New Hampshire, will be inducted into the New England Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (NEAAPA) Hall of Fame on Tuesday, March 19. The ceremony will take place during NEAAPA’s 106th Anniversary Education Conference & Annual Meeting at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel.
“It’s a nice honour after all of these years in the amusement business,” Dean said of the accolade.
With more than a half-century in the industry, Gene got his start at Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts, where the family once operated 38 games and a few rides at the seaside resort community. Gene’s father got his start there in 1935. In the 1967, Gene’s father branched out into the carnival industry with the purchase of Fiesta shows with business partner, the late Jack Flynn. Gene joined the carnival operation in 1970. Today the show, touted as New England’s largest carnival, carries more than 70 rides and plays a regional route spanning 35 weeks.
“I can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning and go to work,” Dean said of the industry he came to admire as a youngster. Yet, he readily admits “the amusement park was my first love” of his career. One thing in the park business is that it took them three to four days to set up a Tilt (Tilt-A-Whirl ride), whereas on the carnival it takes only four hours.”